Founder & Director of TEARS – Mara Glennie

Against all odds, Mara survived a life-threatening event involving grievous bodily harm. After she recovered she founded TEARS, an organisation that provides a support network for victims of rape and abuse. Her aim is to enable victims of rape and sexual abuse to find the assistance, comfort and compassion they need.

She is passionate about women’s rights and the fact that despite our progressive laws and many studies done on violence against women in South Africa, women still have very little protection.

She has been a crusader for social issues over the past six decades and the driving force and facilitator behind numerous development conventions and training initiatives to change the perception of the community and public in general around rape, abuse and Gender-based violence.

TEARS Director & Chief Operations Officer – Charlene Roberson

Growing up in a broken household, where parents used the children as a form of weapon against each other, she was forced at the tender age of 6, to choose between her parents. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, she chose to go where ever her older sister went, and she eventually become her protector!

As head of operations she oversees donor relations, customer service and implementing technology solutions programs in the GBV Sector under TEARS Foundation’s umbrella. She’s motivated with a passion for helping Mara succeed in her dream: A dream where no victim is left behind. A dream where women and children can be free, and safe from harm.

TEARS Director – Michael Johnson

Michael is a loyal member of the TEARS Team and has been a director since its inception. Michael is an entrepreneur offering a wide range of support services in the field of high technology electronics. He enjoys a reputation for his expertise in providing practical solutions to complex engineering challenges. Although his main activities are in the business sector he supports the TEARS Foundation with business expertise and financial aid whenever he can, and is inspired by the TEARS innovations and dedication to fill a definite need in our society. For the individual to flourish we need a healthy and free society and TEARS provides a much needed support system for the individual overwhelmed by a sometimes uncaring collective. Michael feels honored to be associated with the work of TEARS and its contribution to society.

TEARS Advisor – Dr. h.c. Carolyne Akinyi Opinde

Founder and CEO, The NGO Whisperer™

Dr. Carolyne Akinyi Opinde is an award-winning global consultant, social innovator and Founder and CEO of The NGO Whisperer™ providing technical support to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean so they can successfully impact people’s lives.

Dr. Opinde believes that socio-economic development within low-income communities can be achieved by “Connecting People, Raising Funds, and Impacting Lives™”.

Dr. Opinde is a seasoned Resource Mobilisation Specialist and a certified Project Management Professional with over 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. Her knowledge and expertise in international development has impacted communities across the globe. She has raised over US$ 100 million and managed various projects worth US$ 20+ million.


Lynn Pamensky : 40+ years of experience in Human Development

Holistic Guidance and Natural Health Care

Lynn Pamensky is a practitioner in Natural Holistic Healing and Guidance registered with The Natural Healers Association of South Africa (NHASA). She is an integrative health professional. One aspect of her support focus is dedicated to persons who have been raped or abused in the many different forms abuse takes.

Her work is also in general Natural health well-being and well balance of her clients. She is an Holistic Guidance and Natural Health Care professional. In this context Lynn includes Ethno Health Care, Metaphysical Para Guidance and Philosophy.

Lynn is also a Human Resources Generalist practitioner registered with The South African Board For People Practices (SABPP) in support of general corporate Human Resources support including Wellness programmes, guidance and development of the people within the business arena.


TEARS Advisor – Dr Aquina Thulane

MBChB, Bsc MedSc (Hons) Reproductive Medicine, MBA, MPPM

Aquina’s professional experience within the healthcare industry spans the public and private sectors as well as the developmental and non-governmental sector. Aquina’s leadership competencies are in the areas of political-economy of health, politics, economics and public policy management. She is the Technical Specialist on Health Economics and Advisor on National Health Insurance (NHI) in the Department of Health. Aquina previously ran a full-time family practice in Tembisa, focusing on Reproductive Medicine, Reproductive Health including on Gender-Related issues within the township.

TEARS Advisor – Debbie Harrison

Organisational Development Director – Life Online

Debbie Sue is the Organisational Development Director of Rape Crisis Pietermaritzburg, Natal.

During her 20 years with Lifeline she has been responsible for the establishment of an independent Childline in Pietermaritzburg, partnering with the local City Council to establish a referral network of resources for HIV positive persons, and mentoring and supervising the placement of trained AIDS counselors in all 22 City Clinics.

Debbie serves on various related councils and committees, and is the author of several papers and publications within the field.

Prof. Corné Davis

Senior Lecturer – Department of Strategic Communication

Corné Davis is an associate professor at the Department of Strategic Communication, at University of Johannesburg. She lectures undergraduate and postgraduate modules in strategic communication and supervises honours, masters and doctoral research projects. She has published several articles in peer reviewed journals and has presented papers at both national and international conferences. Her current research focuses on gender-based violence (GBV) as a global sustainability challenge. She has published a paper on TEARS Help-at-your-fingertips helpline and the heuristic value of non-personal data in 2017 and she has been an advisory for TEARS for several years. She is also a Trustee of Matla a bana, a well-known NGO who campaigns against child rape and secondary abuse. Corné Davis has been interviewed on national television and radio shows several times and she has been a speaker on numerous panels and webinars for topics related to GBV and gender inequality. She is collaborating with Shared Value Africa Initiative in doing research on how to facilitate multi-sector collaboration in GBV prevention and intervention in the private sector in South Africa. She is a member of Pillar six in the presidency’s National Strategic Plan to address GBV focusing on research and information management. She is currently working with TEARS to publish an updated research report on the Help-at-your-fingertips helpline.